Computer and mobile phone giant Apple hired Alexander Hitzinger, former head of Porsche's racecars program, Manager Magazin said, poaching a skilled project manager who helped engineer the German sportscar company's Le Mans victories.

Hitzinger could not be reached for comment. Porsche confirmed Hitzinger had left the company in the spring. Apple was not immediately available for comment.

Porsche, a sportscar brand owned by Volkswagen decided to return to endurance racing and developed the 919 hybrid sportscar from scratch, winning Le Mans and the endurance racing world championship in both 2015 and 2016.

Hitzinger created an organizational structure and development team which expanded from ten staff to over 150 employees, building a complex hybrid racer made from lighweight materials.

Hitzinger is quoted by Manager Magazin as saying he wanted to do something, "which has a significant and direct impact on society" but stopped short of confirming he now worked at Apple.

Hitzinger's LinkedIn profile states he left Porsche in March and joined a "Technology Company" located in the San Francisco Bay Area as an engineering executive in April this year.

Reuters (Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Tina Bellon)